A black day in the history of the Monte Carlo rally

In memory of crew number 22 …

Editions are in progress in the sixties Go Monte Carlo they were not just a time of sporting competition and great successes celebrated at Monaco’s feet that flowed in luxury. Above all, these events were considered to be an extremely difficult test for the cars that competed in them. Not every crew had endless financial resources or a service based on the latest technology. Not all vehicles participating in the rally were pre-designed to break records. A large part of the effort also consisted of “sporty” cars, which in standard variants could easily be found in many European cities. One of these machines was without a doubt Fiat 1500C a Spanish crew that w 1966 decided to give it a try 35. Rid Monte Carlo.

The owner and main driver of the Italian Fiat was Jose Luis Pampyn Sanchez -38-year-old lawyer from Madrid and head of a company working in the automotive industry. At the same time, he was chairman of the Seata 600 club in Madrid. Private, husband and father of four children, and an avid enthusiast for motoring and all types of motorsport, with a pseudonym Nyp Brandeso. So the love for the cars produced under the Italian license must have spread very early in it. He has gained his experience on rally stages over the years by participating in such events as RACE Spain Rallywhere its nearly 80-horsepower sedan was never far behind.

At first a pilot Pampyna his friend would be, Manuel Zaldivar. Both gentlemen quickly sent in all the necessary documents and qualified for the meeting. Equipped with some important sports equipment, Fiat got the start number 22. Unfortunately, for unspecified reasons, Zaldívar had to switch to the Alfa Romeo GTV, which was driven in the same rally. Miguel Carbajo. The seat of the Italian pilot did not wait too long to be empty. Manuel was quickly replaced by another excellent pilot. He was Rafael Taravilla (pseudonym Manuel Salvador) -also a 37-year-old car enthusiast from Madrid, for whom this start would be the first time in his history (unlike his friend, who would go to the RMC for the second time).

192 crews entered the legendary rally slowly began to leave different countries. On January 14, 1966, the dark Fiat 1500C also leaves the walls of Lisbon. Pampyn and Rafael were filled with thoughts of a big win and a famous international success. Their machine ready for high-speed driving, to be exact Fiat Millecinquecento, at the time of its debut, it was considered to be a fairly successful and, above all, sustainable model. The biggest advantage was its simple design and a solid 1.5-liter engine, which later found its way under the hood of the Fiat 125. In addition, the spacious Fiat, given the local conditions, did not burn cosmic amounts of fuel, which really made possible great distances. On January 15, the car proudly crossed the border into France. There was no indication that something could not have gone as planned.

Unfortunately the crew Pampyn Sanchez / Taravilla there was no way to reach the destination. The unfortunate incident took place in the late afternoon of January 16, 1966, that is, just two days after their journey from their homeland began. On one part of the route, a fast Fiat 1500C drives along a straight road leading to the French city of Euzet-les-Bains. Another driver’s car follows him – Claude Laurenta. At some point, the man notices that the machine in front of him is starting to drift dangerously on the road and, what is worse, he is getting closer and closer to the road ditches and trees that grow along it. Worried about the whole situation, Laurent begins to honk intensely and give signals with the headlights to somehow sober up the “absent” Fiat crew. However, all his efforts are in vain when the speeding sedan in an instant encounters a road sign nearby and hits a tree with great force. The torn wreck with a thump bounces off the obstacle and lands right next to it.

As they drove from a distance, the drivers quickly realized the dimension of the tragedy. After a while, help is shown on the spot, but unfortunately it had no one to save. José-Luis and Rafael were killed instantly. There is also a second version of the story that one of the men survived the accident but died on the way to the hospital in Ales. They were only 250 kilometers from Monaco. The photographers present took several pictures of the crashed Fiat, which the next day made front pages in various newspapers. The event also attracted a group of spectators. One of them pulled out, pressed by the force of the element in the engine compartment, the start plate with the start number of the unhappy crew and took it with him. Where is this artifact today? It’s not known yet …

The accident shook the community involved in the famous rally. The Spanish crew on the aforementioned Alfa Romeo found out about the situation immediately after reaching Monte Carlo and for many days could not come to terms with what had happened. Within a few hours after the accident, it began to be speculated whether the incident was caused by two competitors getting tired and the driver falling asleep or if something else was wrong. It was also realized that the driver and the pilot could poison themselves as a result of carbon monoxide leakage from the exhaust system or a leaking heating system. A similar situation occurred during the 22nd Monte Carlo Rally, which took place in 1952, when the victim of such surveillance was once triumphant in this incident on the Hotchkiss 686 GS Riviera car – Marcel Lesurque. In addition, all newspapers strongly condemned the process of planting trees near the road due to the risk to the drivers involved.

Despite the fact that the 35th edition of the Monte Carlo rally ended with a famous scandal, when Mini Cooper’s fourth victory in a row in the event was rejected due to the use of inappropriate light bulbs in the halogens of the crew, most participants still had a tragic accident before their eyes. He has been in the history of this rally forever. Although such events at sporting events are inevitable and no one can predict them, it is worth remembering that in addition to getting the best results – human health and life are the most important things. Let us not let these two Spanish riders ever be forgotten. As soon as we have the opportunity to see the Italian Fiat 1500 or twin 1300 variant somewhere – let us mention at least a moment Jose-Luisa Pampyna Sáncheza in Rafaela Taravillę

Photos and support sources: pilotos-muertos.com, motorsportmemorial.org, car brochures and ads

Submitted by: Marcin Zachariasz

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